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Within the context of questioning many artistic structures, Improbable Connections wants to revindicate the essential role of the structures of art training, dissemination and production. Without them, it would be difficult for artists and thinkers, who contribute great value to society in general and a project such as Improbable Connections in particular, to continue researching and experiencing other ways of conceiving and constructing the world.
Final results
Video-summary, January 2012
[3 minutes]
Poster-summary you can expand here.
Project Progress
September 2011, second methodology session
Obe Hettich
Location: Aizarnazabal (Gipuzkoa). It has 9,000m2 of surface area for storage, production and offices in Aizarnazabal, as well as 10,000m2 of green areas and parking.
Legal status: Multinational company headquartered in Germany, Hettich International. Obe Hettich together with Hettich Iberia are its subsidiaries in Spain and Portugal.
Year founded: 1967, merged with the Hettich multinational in 1978.
Workers: 5,800 worldwide, 105 in Obe Hettich and 44 in Hettich Iberia.
Turnover: €29 million for Obe Hettich and €12.5 million for Hettich Iberia.

Ownership of results of the improbable project: Option D (the exploitation rights fall to the host body, without added remuneration for the artist(s)/social scientist(s) in the event that the result is marketed).
Presentation of Obe Hettich
Project co-financed by the Compite programme (SPRI | Basque Government)

Obe Hettich + Diego Soroa

[january 2012] Developed project

The project started with the aim of finding a methodology that could help implement co-branding strategies with customers and suppliers based on certain products and/or services and primarily using an already existing product as a starting point.

All manner of proposals were made. These were presented to the customer, a negotiation strategy was defined, new ways of interpreting things were considered, and so on. The result was the creation of a tool to help define positioning and from there to know what to aspire to in order to achieve a balance towards a prosperous and fruitful relationship.

In short, quite an achievement, an exciting journey by land, sea and air, full of experiences and new relationship models that will surely influence future relationships with customers. The journey has only just begun!

[may 2011] Draft project presented by Diego Soroa

In the wake of social networks, companies are looking for ways of incorporating collective intelligence and skills in their processes of creation, production, distribution and communication. However, in order for this collaborative culture to flow, it must spring from shared motivation, pursue a convergent vision and be channelled through a common language. Cuantics Creatives aims to bring transparency to the collaborative potential of Obe Hettich by developing a variety of visual codes to demonstrate the individual and collective motivation and skills of its agents and help devise new ways of approaching clients.

[january 2011] Research requested by Obe Hettich

The research is aimed at possible mechanisms to develop co-branding projects (devising and developing products by merging two brands into one joint brand) between Obe Hettich and suppliers and/or clients, thus helping to unite forces to conceive future products/services and opening up new avenues for a closer relationship with users. The aim is also to test these mechanisms by applying them to the range of household products.

The organisation

Obe Hettich develops and produces innovative technology for the furniture industry in collaboration with the furniture and home appliance industry. One of its main activities is the design and manufacture of iron fittings. 

The company was founded by Basque families in Aizarnazabal in the late 1960s and united with a German multinational in 1978. It is now a multinational company with more than 5,800 workers distributed in over 100 countries.

Innovation management has led in the last years to open innovation, thanks to the participation in different work networks such as Future Bizz. The Future Bizz Network was created in 2008 to develop commercial ideas about inhabiting, living and working in the future, in association with leading companies in other sectors. Knowledge of the future is produced within this network and it is developed based on a common reference in order to recognise and assess areas for action of strategic importance.

This scenario of continuous learning has led the company at a favourable moment to undertake an exercise that will strengthen its brand image based on four values: reliability, quality, innovation and proximity to customers within its market. In order to achieve this, the company has potential industrial partners with whom to develop co-branding activities, seeking a situation in which all participants will come out winners.

The team will consist of workers from the German branch of Hettich and from the Aizarnazabal Obe Hettich plant (with people linked to both process innovation and innovation in products and services). The team will also be joined by local suppliers for the company and these could be co-branding partners.

Diego Soroa

Work areas: architecture, design thinking, social thinking.

Diego Soroa studied architecture at the School of Madrid and IIT in Chicago. In 2006, he founded the Cuantics laboratory of applied creativity and the following year won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Bilbao. Since then, he has carried out a variety of activities as a “creative agent”.

He works as an independent advisor for city councils (Bilbao, Bermeo, etc) and public institutions (Athletic de Bilbao, TV3, BEC!, etc) and also collaborates with consultancy firms and companies (Naiden, PWC, Ikertia, etc) by re-designing organisational models, generating future scenarios and reviewing technology-based products.

His architecture focuses on renovations and the design of collective spaces. This activity is combined with his more artistic side, as designer of technological facilities (social hardware canvases) whose aim is to reassess human traces and collective emotions in the city.

His research led him to curate the “Quid Pro Quo” exhibition and series of debates at the Amárika gallery in Vitoria, bringing together artists and research scientists to discuss the social effects of technological acceleration.

He is 35 years old and lives in Bilbao.